By Dr. Nancy Buck
- I’ll start going to the gym once I lose ten pounds.
- We can start traveling like we always wanted to once our finances are in better shape.
- When my child is able to handle his temper outbursts better, we’ll go to library story time.
- When my spouse stops working so hard I’ll make plans for a better marriage.
- When it stops raining I’ll begin walking in nature.
- When it starts raining I’ll begin walking in nature
What are you putting off? Do you hear yourself saying “I’ll do that when . . .” Are you putting off your own happiness, making it dependent on another person’s behaviors and changes? Are you postponing your own mental health?
Imagine that the thing you’re waiting for has happened. Imagine you’ve lost the ten pounds, it started or stopped raining, your child is perfectly well behaved, you have plenty of money, and your spouse is home each evening at a reasonable hour. How would you life be different?
Here’s the trickier question: How would you be different in your life? How would you feel? What would you be thinking? What would your actions be?
Now imagine that none of the things you’re waiting for ever happen? Imagine you never lose that ten pounds (maybe even gain another ten), your spouse never gets home any earlier, it never stops or starts raining, and your child goes from one stage of misbehaving to another. Now what?
Here’s an idea. Start acting, thinking and feeling differently even if none of those things you’re waiting for change!
Eliminate the middle step of waiting for those other things. Start now to feel, think and act the way you want. It can actually be that simple.
Instead of waiting to feel, think and act the way you want, just start acting and thinking as you want. You will also start feeling that way too.
If you want mental health and happiness, stop waiting for the world and the people in it to be perfect so you can be mentally healthy and happy. Start acting and thinking then feeling mentally healthy and happy even though the world and the people in it are not perfect.
Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections. — Gerard Way